Incident Reports

Date: May 18, 1938
Survivors: none
Fatalities: Karlis Lesinskis, Jouni Kuoppamaki (Finnish aviator)
Aircraft Involved: VEF I-12 # 17
Location: Helsinki, Finland
  • VEF I-12 # 17 was sent to the Helsinki-Malmo airport on May 14, the day before the opening of the Aviation Expo.
  • The aircraft was to be on display at the exhibition hall, as well as providing demonstration flights over the airfield.
  • Among those receiving demonstration flights were Capt. Waino Bremer (an accomplished Finnish aviator), Capt. Toivo B. Nissinen, and Mrs. Johansson (spouse of the VEF representative in Finland).
  • At 16:00 hours Lesinskis took Res. Ens. Jouni Kuoppamaki up in #17. The take-off and initial flight appeared normal, and the first news of a problem was received by telephone a few minutes later, when a call to the control tower reported it had crashed into a field at Viikki near the highway to Porvoo. This was about 2.5 km south of the airfield.
  • The aviators were rushed to the local Red Cross hospital, but they were already dead on arrival.
  • Capt. Karrus of the Finnish Ministry of Communications conducted an investigation. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the aircraft curve into the ground at a 45 degree angle with the engine apparently revving normally. A key component in the elevator controls was found to be broken, but it could not be determined if this damage caused the crash or was a result of the impact.
  • The accident report failed to find a clear cause for the accident.
  • The father of the Finnish pilot killed in the crash was not satisfied with this report, and demanded a more detailed investigation into his son's death. Accordingly, the Finnish Ministry of Communications requested detailed drawings and data from VEF, as well as the return of the damaged control part.
  • By this time, the wreckage of the aircraft had been returned to Latvia. The VEF responded with some very basic design and strength calculation data, but added that the original enquiry did not find a mechanical cause for the crash and they were accepting this conclusion.
  • No further investigations took place.

I-12 #17 wreckage


- Bruvelis, Edvins Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture
- Irbitis, Karlis Of Struggle and Flight
- VEF I-12 - Onnettomuuden Surkea Tutkinta by Jukka Raunio in Suomen Ilmailuhistoriallinen Lehti, 1996 No.3

I would like to thank Carl-Fredrik Geust of the Finnish Aviation Museum Association for his great help in preparing this report.

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